Review: Ludlow Lions – No Stories

Label: self-released (CD and donation-based download)

Released: March 16, 2010

Lately, it seems that Brooklyn’s cup runneth over with quality indie rock, so it’s getting harder and harder to separate the truly good (you know, the bands who are pushing their scene, not just tagging along) from the pack. Ludlow Lions doesn’t instantly solve that problem, because it’s hard to say what sets them apart on first listen. Without doubt, the songs are solid, but are they more than that?

Closer inspection says they are, significantly so. Their urban, but not too urban, indie rock takes a heavy dose of Ted Leo’s (and thereby the Jam’s) inflections, mixing heart and hooks, jangles and jams with bits of REM. Even Joe Jackson’s quirks and snarls make an occasional appearance in Ludlow Lions’ sound. What isn’t clear on first listen, but becomes more and more evident each time through, is that No Stories is more than what it seems. Much of the time, it’s loud, not heavy metal loud, but Kinks or Who loud. When it’s quiet, it’s unaffectedly quiet. When it’s complicated, it’s natural.

Ludlow Lions offer more than a few bits of the glorious, but in ways so subtle that it’s pure energy rather than bombastic hot air. Their hooks offer a window into the album’s soul rather than obfuscating it and the tunes are every bit as listenable as they are moving.

Satriani: 8/10
Zappa: 7/10
Dylan: 8/10
Aretha: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

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